Why is it that cornstarch isn’t really clamored for, even though it is packed with so much energy, and is gluten-free? I’ll tell you why, for one corn isn’t eaten as much as say bacon, or eggs, or even ginger. Another reason could be that; people don’t really like starch. The name alone isn’t that appetizing, let alone palatable.
Don’t get me wrong, cornstarch is popular amongst bakers and chefs, for baking and cooking, but sometimes you got to change the recipe, don’t you agree with me?
So my question for you is, what is a good cornstarch substitute? Or better put, what other ingredients can you put in your cooking or baking to have the same effects and taste as the cornstarch would?
Now, you don’t have to answer that, I’m just going to tell you what can you substitute for cornstarch.
What To Use Instead Of Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is a very famous and widely used ingredient when cooking and baking. This wide recognition is based on the fact that it has a starch-rich endosperm.
Translating that into English, it is filled with nutritional energy, plus it also thickens the stew, gravies, soup, and other watery meals. What the starch does is to absorb the water in the meal, making it thicker. Now, how about that.
Without wasting your time anymore, how about we delve into the different and variety of options to choose from when you’re looking what can you substitute for cornstarch.
1. Wheat Flour
The first on my list is the wheat flour. You can get wheat flour from grinding the wheat into a fine powder.
Wheat flour is a good substitute for cornstarch. First, it has that thickening effect in watery meals. Secondly, it is very nutritious; it is packed with fiber, protein, and starch itself. Talk about triple action.
I can’t say the same for cornstarch. It only has one thing to boast about; starch, and that is it. Nothing more.
Now the one of the downside to using the wheat flour is that you have to use so much of it before you can get the same result the cornstarch gives to the meals, (twice as much will do). So if you’re one to put one teaspoon of cornstarch, if you’re using the wheat flour, two teaspoons will suffice.
It prevents clumpiness and stickiness in your meal; it is advisable that you make a paste out of the flour by putting it in cold water.
Another thing about the wheat flour that may not be good for you is that, unlike the cornstarch, the wheat flour is not glutton free, and is not a good idea to give it to persons with celiac disease.
Did you know that arrowroot is also a great cornstarch alternative? Heck, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as arrowroot till now, let alone being a cornstarch replacement.
Yeah, arrowroot is a great cornstarch substitute, both for thickening and in providing energy.
It’s ideal you know where arrowroot comes from. There is starchy flour which is made from a tropical plant; It’s called the Maranta genus. To make a great powder out of the Maranta genus roots, you first have to dry the roots before you grind it, (if you’re having plans of doing a homemade starchy flour)
You can use this powder to thicken food, like all other starchy flours, but what makes it a good substitute to cornstarch, is its high fiber content. Make the arrowroot powder jelly first before you mix it into the meal, so you don’t have clumps and lumps.
3. Potato Starch
Most people don’t like the idea of looking for something fancy to replace their starch intake; there want something old-school, you know; something they can relate with. And this brings me to my next item in this list; the potato starch.
I guess you’re probably wondering how potato starch can be a substitute for cornstarch, I mean common, the two of them aren’t even in the same category of food. Then again, neither is the wheat flour and arrowroot powder.
To make a good potato starch, you will have to slice the potatoes in a tiny bit and dry it up. Grind the dried up potato, and there you have it, your homemade potato starch. Since this starch is glutton free, you can mix it in food and meals for persons with celiac disease, as it is rich in fiber and carbs. And because of the bland taste of the potato, you don’t have to worry about unwanted flavor.
One great thing about root and tuber crops is that they are so rich in starch, and topping the starch chain is the tapioca.
Tapioca is a cassava extract, from which you can get starch from. Cassava itself is a root and tuber crop, which pretty much makes it rich in starch. The cassava plant is found in the South American and African region.
You grind the cassava into a pulp; then you filter out the rich, starchy liquid, then you let it dry off before you can use it. But because the cassava vegetable has what is known as cyanide, it would probably be a good idea to treat it first before you use. It is glutton free and fiber filled, so it’s safe for celiac patients.
5. Rice Flour
The last, but not the least on my least is the rice flour. You all love rice, don’t you? Well, I do too; but did you know that rice is another amazing substitute for cornstarch.
So rich in starch that some very wise person sort of making other effective use of rice, by turning it into rice flour. All there is about the rice flour is grinding the rice flour. Common in the Asian region, the rice is used as ingredients for rice noodles, soups or some of their special desserts.
It is glutton free and has received recognition from the persons with celiac disease, thus the perfect substitute for wheat flour. It thickens and adds more flavor to the meal. Rice flour is so colorless that, when you mix with water, it doesn’t change the color of your meal.
Although I said the rice flour is last on my list, I want to mention some of the other substitutes for cornstarch.
We have the ground flaxseeds, (great absorber); the glucomannan, (the fiber plant); the psyllium husk, (yet another fiber plant); the xanthan gum; and guar gum.
These are a few another sub for cornstarch.
When next time you are faced with the question; ‘what is a substitute for cornstarch,’ the first thing that should come to your mind, are carbohydrates meals, that you can grind. They make a good substitute for the cornstarch and are also rich in fiber, carbs, and energy. Some of them are even colorless and flavorless, while others are ideal for persons with the celiac disease.
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